What US-Russia crisis? Trump seeks closer ties in WH meeting


12 May, 2017

Trump's talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take place after the Russian's meetings earlier in the day with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for improving relations with Moscow. No reporters were allowed in to ask questions - though they were ushered in minutes later for Mr. Trump's session with Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, New York Times reported.

Lavrov's visit to the Oval Office was a rare welcome for a foreign minister - or any non-head of state representing a foreign country.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation inquiry after it was discovered he spoke privately with Kislyak last summer and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner also acknowledged that he had met with Kislyak previous year in Trump Tower.

Trump told Lavrov that the United States will continue to play a role in resolving the conflict between Russian Federation and Ukraine, a press release from the White House said on Wednesday.

The diplomats met Wednesday in Washington - and there's a new Russian-led agreement to create safe zones in Syria. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also present at meeting. In fact, he didn't seem - or at least pretend - to have known that the night before his arrival, President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey. "You're kidding, you're kidding".

"On Syria, the secretary intends to discuss efforts to de-escalate violence, provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and set the stage for a political settlement of the conflict", the State Department said in a statement.

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United States officials are harming their own people by saying that Russian Federation might have influenced the elections and is standing behind USA internal affairs, Lavrov also said. She says Tillerson told Lavrov that sanctions on Russian Federation over its actions in Ukraine will remain in place until Russian Federation changes course. "You are kidding!" Lavrov blurted out before walking away with Tillerson.

On Syria, where Russian Federation has backed President Bashar Assad's forces and the US has supported anti-Assad rebels, the talks appeared to indicate a slight narrowing of differences.

This ambition has been largely derailed, however, by continued questions over his campaign's alleged ties to Russia, accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the two countries' disagreements over Syria.

US reporters were not permitted to cover the meeting.

"The previous administration bent over backwards to undermine the solid foundation of our relations", Lavrov told reporters at the Russian Embassy after meeting Trump.

In one of the photos, Trump is gesturing to the ambassador while making a remark to Lavrov.

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